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MALLOCK W.
In an enchanted island
page 107

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he loved. We are, in fact, under happy circum-stances such as these redeemed for a little from what life has done to us, and we walk amongst images of what we once hoped it would do. Most of us must for moments have known what this feeling is ; for it is not always necessary to go into distant countries to experience it. It will come to us for moments in more familiar haunts—in gay Mediterranean watering-places, on light-hearted azure mornings, when bands play, when coloured awnings glitter, and life seems made up of the sway of palm trees, and the movement of music in the air. Again for moments it will come to us in the palm gardens of fantastic villas, when the roses are awake in the warm winter moonlight, when the fountains trickle, when the frogs croak, and the flowers, the air, and the leaves seem bursting with some lost secret. Who that has known such scenes, under favourable circumstances, and in favourable company, has not been conscious of some such impression ? Who has not felt a sensation as if something were about to happen—-a passionate something—a something which the nerves call for, but the imagination cannot give shape to ? Do we wish that some woman should be born out of the palms and the roses, with the breath of the rose on her lips, and the languor of the moon-light in her eyes ? The strings of the heart are strained. What is wanting to strike the music out of them ? The voice of the nightingale seems to repeat the question ; but not even love quite answers it. 104 IN AN ENCHANTED ISLAND

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